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Old 07-19-2016, 12:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Wired: "EPA testing may not work. Like At All."

Wired has published an alarmist article that argues fuel economy testing related to U.S. corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) targets is essentially useless:

The EPA’s Fuel Efficiency Testing May Not Work. Like, at All

(The click-baity title suggests the article might even be about window sticker MPG ratings, but it's not.)

If you follow any news about CAFE, you probably already know that fuel consumption figures used in the setting of targets are not the same as the window sticker values that consumers see: the 54.5 mpg 2025 CAFE target equates to about 40 MPG on the window sticker.

Why?

Because for the purposes of continuity in setting CAFE targets through the years, the old "uncorrected" city & highway test cycles are used, rather than the newer 5-cycle tests which were introduced in addition to the 2-cycle tests in 2008 to provide more "real world" (ie. lower) EPA estimates for consumers.

So, because CAFE relies on just 2 tests (instead of 5) and because they're at lower engine loads, WIRED argues that they're easier for the manufacturers to game.

Therefore, WIRED reports, CAFE targets are useless, because manufacturers will just game the tests.

I don't buy it.

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Old 07-19-2016, 12:49 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Quote:
But the standards for testing, the so-called city and highway drive cycles, were as 1970s as a pair of plaid bell-bottoms. They assumed you drive 48 mph on the highway and never hit stop and go traffic, use the air conditioner, or drive when it’s colder than 68 degrees. The maximum rate of acceleration would take you from 0 to 60 mph—if you ever did such a thing—in about 20 seconds. The EPA drove like your grandfather.
Is that a fair description of the CAFE test?
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Old 07-19-2016, 01:02 PM   #3 (permalink)
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2-cycle testing:

(the original tests on that page are on the "city" and "highway" tabs.)

https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/fe_test_schedules.shtml
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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If the makers do try and "game" the test it is good for us. Means they will make cars that respond well to eco-driving. The new epa test used for the window sticker is geared toward idiot driving. I almost wish they would have a 4th mpg rating on the sticker and that is steady state 65mph fuel consumption. Then we could judge aerodynamics and rolling resistance along with engine efficiency.
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Old 07-19-2016, 02:25 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I don't think they can get away with gaming the tests anymore. The stakes (and penalties) have gotten too high (see: VW, Hyundai, Mitsubishi models in Japan).

And if the tests were easy to game, the automakers wouldn't be fighting the 2025 CAFE targets as much as they have been.
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Honda mods: Ecomodding my $800 Honda Fit 5-speed beater
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Ecodriving test: Manual vs. automatic transmission MPG showdown



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Old 07-19-2016, 09:14 PM   #6 (permalink)
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30 years for someone to figure it out. wow

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